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What Did Andy Carroll's £35M Transfer Cost Chelsea?

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You want me to do maths? I'm so confused...
You want me to do maths? I'm so confused...

In an interview with the Guardian today, Liverpool owner John Henry has indicated that Liverpool's asking price for Fernando Torres was entirely dependent on what Newcastle United asked for Andy Carroll, the man brought to Anfield to replace the departing legend. Therefore, says he, it made total financial sense to spend £35M on Carroll, since the combination of Torres and Babel leaving enabled Liverpool to bring on two new strikers (Luis Suarez had arrived from Ajax for a little over £22M) - essentially for free. Here's Mr. Henry...

The fee for Torres was dependent on what Newcastle asked for Carroll. The negotiation for us was simply the difference in prices paid by Chelsea and to Newcastle. Those prices could have been £35m [from Chelsea for Torres] and £20m [to Newcastle for Carroll], 40 and 25 or 50 and 35. It was ultimately up to Newcastle how much this was all going to cost.

Passing the fee for Carroll along to Chelsea seems brilliant, on the face of things. If Roman Abramovich was happy to pay up to £50M for Torres, Liverpool were therefore happy to pay up to £35M for Carroll. So long as they got to swap the Torres/Babel due for Carroll and Suarez, that was totally cool. Therefore, it was Chelsea who were responsible for paying Andy Carroll's fee, not Liverpool. Blame for that laughable fee should fall on the shoulders of the money-wasting Blues.

That's all well and good apart from being totally nonsensical. What Henry is saying here is that he looked at Liverpool's January deals for forwards in complete isolation - that all that mattered was this transfer window, nothing else. Henry's a capable, competent businessman. If he was willing to sell Fernando Torres for the price to pay for Andy Carroll plus £15M, he'd also presumably be more than happy to have parted with the striker for Carroll plus £30M. It's not like the extra money would just vanish.

No, if Newcastle's price for Carroll had been lower, Liverpool would have still charged Chelsea £50M for Torres. It's the price Chelsea were willing, after all, to pay, and it would be lunacy not to get every penny out of a prize asset while selling. If Liverpool had spent less on Carroll, it wouldn't be Chelsea with more money, it would be Liverpool. Perhaps the Torres fee may Liverpool more willing to make Carroll the most expensive British player in football history, but Henry's almost certainly being duplicitous when he says that the price for Carroll impacted the Torres transfer. There's just no way that makes sense with so much cash involved. Don't blame us for that ludicrous deal - we're responsible for plenty on our own, thank you.